Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Canadian Journey

Last weekend I was once again reminded that Ironman is a journey! Your typical athletic event may have a beginning, middle and end, but what makes Ironman unique is the unknown. Some things are in our control, while so many things are not. We put in the training and then have to just believe the hard work will pay off when we toe the line. Before I get to the exciting portion of my Ironman Journey (the race), here is a glimpse of my week in Penticton leading up to the race.
Upon arriving it was scorching in Penticton. Temps were in the high 80's and I prayed (with every fiber in my body) that it would stay that way! The weather prediction called for cooler temps, but if I had my choice I'd opt for warmth. Within minutes of arriving and settling into my awesome accommodations I went for a run along a trail overlooking the lake. My first thanks has to go to Barbara. Thank you for opening up your home to us!
The views in Penticton are breathtaking. When people described the course to me they spoke of only two major climbs, but this didn't seem to make sense to me. Mountains upon mountains occupied the entire landscape!
I've never felt so good leading up to an ironman. This was a bit scary, but I also knew I trained, rested and did all I could to ensure I would feel this way. I owe great thanks to those that graced me with their healing touch. Massage, A.R.T. and cordisone were the winning combination. For 3 years I've battled insane tendon inflammation in my ankle. Leading up to the race it got horrendously bad. Thankfully my amazing Doctor (Joanna Whiteley of course) connected me with another sports doc who encouraged me to make friends with the needle. On that note, thank you to all of you who helped me through this decision! KP, Brian, Simone, Joanna, and Dr. Saben you were an amazing pre-race team and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for caring so much about me! Each one of them saw the work I've put in over the past months and refused to let anything get in the way of my race dreams ;) HUG HUGS to you all!
Thursday night I got to join the Newton team for a spectacular breathtaking dinner. A team of about 20 individuals raised money for prostate cancer, and raced not only with passion...but for a purpose. The ironman course is always FULL of stories. It was pretty fun to hear Winter and Jerry's story and watch their little dream unfold (Jerry is a cancer survivor and Winter lost her father to prostate cancer. She made him pinky swear last year that he'd do IM this year and raise money for Athletes for a Cure). Don't mess with this adorable 11 year old! She hammered out a 20min 5k prior to the dinner!
 Thereafter it was all about race prep. The bike seemed ready, so we set off to drive the run course. I opted to leave the bike course for race day, as I didn't feel like spending 3-4hrs in the car to drive the 112miles.
The run course takes you from the lake we swim in, through Penticton and out to this lake. The rolling hills would provide ample challenge. The entire drive I kept thinking: man this course is no joke, I don't know if my ambitious goal of sub 3:30 will be possible. But my plan was to hold back until I reached the run turn around. Then when I got to this park I could turn it up a notch and chase that little 3:30 dream.
Of course the week involved daily (or maybe hourly) runs to the grocery store. Thankfully our neighbors allowed us to drive their hoopty, Awwwwwwww Yeahhhhhhh
I really do enjoy having Brandy there to race with me. She has become a staple in my pre-race swim/bike/run. We rocked our amazing TYR Hurricane wetsuits for the swim, and then threw on our Newtons for a short jog. was NOT warm!
After getting off the bike it was time to check in my baby. It's never easy leaving him for his pre-race night's slumber, but I knew he was ready to perform. San Diego's superior bike mechanic, Matt Hoffman, made him fast and seriously I thought he put some kind of speed into the rear hub! (ohhh, that's what it feels like when your bike is clean and gets a proper tune up ;) )
From there it was time to eat some full fat ice cream (Penticton does not share love for frozen yogurt) and crawl into bed. The wind was howling, and the temps were ridiculously low. But there was nothing more I could do. I said a few prayers to the weather god's and fell asleep for that ever-so-tough pre-Ironamn sleep.